Prevention? You’re Covered

Understand what the Affordable Care Act means for your heart

heart vascular health line art

What’s the federal government up to? The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress (popularly known as the health care reform bill) requires insurers to pay for certain measures to prevent disease. But according to an article in the New York Times, many patients and physicians aren’t quite sure which procedures are covered. The article notes that the federal government has helpfully listed the covered benefits at a special website, www.healthcare.gov. TBE recommends a visit to this site. Not only will it tell you what the federal government’s up to with healthcare, it will remind you of some important screenings to prevent heart and vascular disease.

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“The old proverb about ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure is really true,” says Leslie Cho, MD, director of the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Cardiovascular Center. “For patients with family history of cardiovascular disease it is important to get evaluation of risk factors. Regardless of family history, all patients should get their cholesterol level screened, check blood pressure and fasting glucose.”

Here’s a list of the preventive screenings and advice the government requires coverage of, relating to heart and vascular disease:

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:  one-time screening for men of specified ages who have ever smoke
  • Aspirin:  use for men and women of certain ages
  • Blood Pressure:  screening for all adults
  • Cholesterol:  screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk
  • Depression:  screening for adults
  • Type 2 Diabetes:  screening for adults with high blood pressure
  • Diet:  counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
  • Obesity:  screening and counseling for all adults
  • Tobacco Use:  screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users.

Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, Head of the Section for Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic, says these screenings might not be enough for some people. “People with a strong family history of heart disease, or with multiple risk factors, may require more additional testing with a preventive cardiology specialist.”

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Talk to your doctor about regular screening for cardiovascular disease, and how this list applies to you.

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